Friday 23 January 2015

On Stage: Cymbals Eat Guitars

On their latest album Lose, Cymbals Eat Guitars came up with more focused songs that are more easy to get into. Their older songs did sometimes have more adventure but could also lack direction. The new album also is their most personal one, with emotional songs that both sound dramatic and powerful. Time to go see them play.

Cymbals Eat Guitars at Bitterzoet Amsterdam, January 20 2015

The cosy Bitterzoet venue has filled up nicely, because it is a free concert for the Paradiso "indiestadpas" holders (like myself), a pass that allows you to see over 50 selected indie concerts for under thirty euros. This is good news for the band, although it also makes this a restless crowd with lots of chatting, something that seems to be inevitable nowadays.

It may be difficult for some to get into the music of the foursome or to fully appreciate and grasp it. But the band proves they can play a tight set that is interesting enough to entertain a crowd for more than an hour. Especially the songs of the new album, which is the largest part of their set list, are convincing and singer Joe D'Agostino is performing them with lots of heart. He gives the songs the right amount of emotion and credibility that the personal songs need.

The small stage of Bitterzoet makes him the one in the spot light and from my perspective the other members are either hidden or in the dark. It is typical though for this band, where D'Agostino is the driving force. His way of singing, where he uses quite a bit of air and sometimes he's screaming his lyrics, may put off some people, but is what actually adds drama and power to the songs.

'XR' and 'Jackson' sound even better this way and prove to be their best songs. The new songs sometimes even have sing along verses and you can imagine that they will work great in larger venues and on festivals. But the contrast with the somewhat unfocused older material can be quite big though. The band comes back for an encore at the end of their one hour set and D'Agostino closes in style all by himself with a wonderful version of 'Child Bride'. Too bad some people around me are too busy catching up with their friends or checking their Facebook account.

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